Monday, April 22, 2024

Lakers a win from play-offs

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TWELVE VICTORIES. Ten games won in succession.And amidst all those big figures, Lumber Company Lakers’ magic number is just one.Keefe Birkett scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in a decisive fourth-quarter spell, as basketball’s Premier League leading Lakers moved one win away from post-season qualification after Saturday night’s 78-68 triumph against Colombian Emeralds International Senators at the Wildey Gymnasium.The win – Lakers’ 12th in 13 games – means the Husbands men need just one victory from their last three games to book a seventh straight trip to the play-offs and officially ended Senators’ (5-8) slim post-season hopes.Those dreams were seemingly dead and buried long before Birkett’s late-game heroics, as Senators only managed one point within the first 4:20 of the second half to fall behind by as many as 16 (45-29).But Anthony Forde closed the third quarter scoring four straight points, before his teammates accounted for seven unanswered on the other side of the break to reduce Senators’ deficit to just four (54-50).It proved to be the last success they would enjoy.Birkett quickly ended that rally and Lakers’ drought, hitting a short jumper, a triple and a floater to sandwich a Jamario Grazette basket and put the league leaders ahead 63-54.Senators didn’t go away quietly though, threatening once more after getting within five before Birkett squashed that run too with another three, coming on the heels of baskets by Matthew Moore and Jamar King as Lakers went up again by double digits (70-60).Ormond Haynes then duly provided the final margin with six quick points in open play among two Birkett free throws.Adrian Allman assisted Birkett with 11 points and Haynes finished with ten, while George Farrell topscored for Senators with 14 points.Earlier, Sagicor Tridents were restricted to just eight third-quarter points and 18 overall in the second half, as reigning league champs Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers cruised to a 87-53 rout.Kelvin Patterson celebrated his return to the starting line-up with a team-high 14 points, while the Cavs improved a second best 11-2 record to remain only one game behind the rival Lakers.

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